Tea farming

CLIMATE: Tea thrives in regions with monsoon climates characterized by high temperatures, long growing seasons, and abundant rainfall, which are essential for the optimal growth of tea bushes. It requires a minimum temperature of 21°C for at least 8 months during the growing period.

RELIEF: Most commercially managed tea plantations are situated in elevated areas and on sloping hillsides, benefiting from natural drainage. Tea plants cannot tolerate stagnant water or waterlogged lowlands.

SOILS: Tea flourishes in loose and crumbly loam soils that allow for effective water percolation.

SHADE: Tea shrubs exhibit improved growth when protected from intense sunlight and strong winds.

FIELD OPERATIONS

LAND PREPARATION: Proper land preparation is crucial in tea cultivation as any incorrect techniques can damage the soil structure or lead to unsuccessful tea establishment.

The land preparation process involves the following steps:

SOIL TESTING: Soil testing is conducted to determine the pH level of the soil and to assess its suitability for tea cultivation.

SURVEY AND PLANNING: Surveying and planning are carried out to assess the gradient or slope of the land, particularly in areas prone to heavy rainfall, in order to prevent unnecessary losses.

LAND CLEARING: Trees and bushes are removed by either manual or mechanical means, and the land is cultivated. Herbicides may also be used for effective vegetation clearance. CATAPULT 480 SL can be used at a rate of 250 ml per 20 L of water.

LAND PREPARATION: Herbicides are applied to eliminate all vegetation, followed by digging to facilitate ground leveling.

DIGGING OF PLANTING HOLES: Planting holes are dug when favorable climatic conditions, such as the availability of rainfall, are present.

SPACING: Tea plants are correctly spaced at 105 cm by 75 cm to ensure that they do not become overgrown too quickly.

MULCHING: Mulching is recommended in tea cultivation to prevent soil erosion and water evaporation during dry seasons. It also helps control weed growth.

WEED CONTROL: Weeds can significantly impede tea growth. Glyphosate, preferably CATAPULT 480SL at a rate of 250 ml per 20 L of water, is advised for effective weed control.

FERTILIZER APPLICATION: Young tea plants require nitrogenous, phosphatic, and potassic fertilizers mixed with sand or dry manure for proper root development. Mature tea plants require top dressing with fertilizers rich in nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P2O5), and potassium (K2O).

FOLIAR APPLICATION: Recommended doses of NPK fertilizers, such as LAVENDA TOTAL at a rate of 30 ml in 20 L of water, can be applied as a foliar spray to enhance bud growth in tea bushes.

MAJOR PESTS AND DISEASES IN TEA

PESTS

The following pests and their corresponding solutions are as follows:

APHIDS:

Identification: They can be identified by the presence of cornicles that project backward.

Solution: Timely pruning is the only effective way to prevent aphids.

TEA SCALES:

Identification: Tea scales cause pale yellow spots on leaves, which eventually turn yellow and drop prematurely.

Solution: Spraying the affected plants with horticultural oil can help control tea scales.

MITES:

Identification: Mites cause webbing that covers the leaves.

Solution: A strong jet of water sprayed onto the leaves can effectively control mites.

DISEASES

The following are included:

ALGAL LEAF SPOTS:

Identification: Algal leaf spots are characterized by gray, green, or tan raised spots or blotches on the margins of the leaves.

Solutions:

  • Avoiding overhead irrigation can help prevent the development of algal leaf spots.
  • Proper spacing of tea crops is also important in managing and reducing the occurrence of algal leaf spots.

BLISTER BLIGHT

The issue includes:

PINHOLE-SIZED SPOTS ON YOUNG LEAVES:

Identification: Small spots resembling pinholes are present on the young leaves.

Solution:

To address this problem, the use of either foliar or systemic fungicides is recommended.

CAMELLIA DIEBACK or CANCER

The problem is as follows:

YELLOWING AND WILTING OF LEAVES:

Identification: The leaves are exhibiting a yellow color and showing signs of wilting.

Solution:

To address this issue, it is important to ensure proper drainage of the soil.

RED ROOT DISEASE

The problem described is:

YELLOWING OF FOLIAGE, WILTING, AND EVENTUAL DEATH OF PLANTS:

Identification: The foliage of the plants is turning yellow, wilting, and eventually leading to plant death.

Solution:

To address this issue, it is crucial to remove the affected crops and also remove any adjacent crops to prevent the spread of the problem.

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